Bronchiolitis Obliterans Lawsuit for Popcorn Lung Results in $30.4M Verdict
An Illinois jury has awarded $30.4 million to a worker at a chemical plant that makes flavoring for microwave popcorn in a bronchiolitis obliterans lawsuit filed against BASF Corp.
The complaint was brought by Gerardo Solis, an employee of the Flavorchem Corp. plant in Downers Grove, Illinois. Solis was diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as “popcorn lung” because of its association with popcorn factory workers who developed the ailment after long-term exposure to a chemical known as diacetyl.
BASF was Flavorchem’s supplier of diacetyl, a chemical used to give microwave popcorn its buttery smell. The chemical is no longer in use due to its bronchiolitis obliterans side effects for factory workers.
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Popcorn lung is characterized by the scarring and inflammation of small airways, known as bronchioles, which leads to diminished lung capacity and breathing problems. The condition is irreversible and severe cases require lung transplants and can lead to death.
Solis worked at the Chicago area factory from 1998 to 2006, before being diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterans. The disease has left him with only 25% of his normal lung capacity, and he will likely require a lung transplant in the next ten years.
Solis is only one of about 300 plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit over popcorn lung throughout the United States, with most of those coming from employees of popcorn manufacturers. The $30.4 million verdict handed down by the Cook County jury is the largest awarded in a bronchiolitis obliterans popcorn lung suit to date.
Last March, a jury awarded $7.5 million to a popcorn worker and his wife, who sued Givaudan Flavors Corp. and three other companies who made popcorn flavoring for the American Pop Corn Co. The plaintiff in that case died of popcorn lung a day before the jury returned the verdict.
RossAugust 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm
If you read the transcript, Solis only had 30 percent lung capacity when he started his employment with Flavorchem. He worked several years in production for a company that actually packed microwave popcorn prior to starting with Flavorchem. Mysteriously, his former employer liquidated the business when Solis filed this suit. The article unfairly connects Solis's lung condition as being caused b[Show More]If you read the transcript, Solis only had 30 percent lung capacity when he started his employment with Flavorchem. He worked several years in production for a company that actually packed microwave popcorn prior to starting with Flavorchem. Mysteriously, his former employer liquidated the business when Solis filed this suit. The article unfairly connects Solis's lung condition as being caused by his time with Flavorchem.
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